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Oligodendroglioma and Social Security Disability

Oligodendroglioma is a type of brain tumor that originates in the glial cells of the brain. They typically form in the frontal and temporal lobes, but can be found anywhere in the brain. Oligodendroglioma usually affects adults between the ages of 30 and 60, but can also develop in children at a less common rate. The cause is largely unknown, though there is some hereditary, chromosomal link.

Among the first signs of oligodendroglioma are headaches, which come from the pressure in the skull as the tumor expands or when passageways are blocked and fluid builds up. These headaches are usually coupled with vision problems and nausea. Another major symptom is seizures in the frontal lobe. As the oligodendroglioma is left untreated, you may have trouble with cognitive processes and less sharp motor functions.

Oligodendrogliomas are usually diagnosed first through an MRI or CT scan, followed by a biopsy for confirmation. Treatment for Oligodendroglioma is like treating other cancers. The first option, if possible, is surgery to either partially or completely remove the tumor. Other treatments include radiation therapy, which is usually the next step following surgery, and chemotherapy. While oligodendrogliomas are felt to be incurable, the prognosis has improved as treatment technology has advanced.

Medical Qualification and Compassionate Allowances

In order to receive Social Security Disability benefits, you must be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your specific medical condition will be evaluated according to the SSA's guidebook of disabling conditions, the blue book. In general, you must match the listing that corresponds with your condition.

As a form of cancer, Oligodendroglioma is evaluated under section 13.13 of the blue book, Malignant Neoplastic Diseases – Nervous System. In general, cancers must be progressive or inoperable, and persistent despite therapy in order to qualify for benefits.

The Social Security Disability application process can take a long time to complete and the wait time can be for several months. The SSA is able to pay benefits quickly to those who have a particularly severe and obvious disability under a program called compassionate allowances. Oligodendroglioma is one of many aggressive and life-threatening cancers included on the list of conditions eligible for compassionate allowances. Under this program, you can likely to expect to receive a positive decision within a month, if you have a listed condition that would clearly fit under the blue book parameters.

The Application Process

Compassionate allowances are not a separate program from Social Security Disability benefit programs, meaning the application remains the same. It can be initiated online or during an interview with a SSA representative.

Before you begin, gather all of the documentation required for the application, as well as any medical information that might help your case. You should plan on having records of medical visits and treatments, doctor's notes, and definitive lab results confirming your diagnosis.

If your application is denied, know that you are entitled to an appeals process. You must complete the appeal within 60 days of receiving the denial, or you will have to begin a new application. Keep in mind that the SSA denies many first time applications because they are incorrect or do not supply enough information. You must be as detailed as possible about your condition your you may not be approved. These benefits are designed to help you help you, but the application must be treated like a job to put yourself in the best chance of qualifying.